Meet the Experts

Bugs in Your Home

John Friel, PhD

Dr. John Friel
Dr. John Friel

Director, Alabama Museum of Natural History

John Friel is the Director of the Alabama Museum of Natural History at the University of Alabama, and prior to that was Curator of Fishes, Amphibians and Reptiles, and a Senior Research Associate in the Dept. of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Cornell University. He received his BS in zoology from the University of Central Florida, and his PhD in Zoology from Duke University. John has been a professional ichthyologist for over 20 years and has conducted field research on freshwater fishes throughout South America and Africa. Since moving to Alabama in 2015, John has been developing the museum’s biodiversity and citizen science initiatives including the Biodiversity of Alabama Project.

Black Lighting: Here and Abroad

Nancy Miorelli

Sci Bugs Ecological Tours, Ecuador

Nancy Miorelli has her master’s degree in entomology. After graduating, Nancy promptly moved to the Ecuadorian Cloud Forest and decided to stay forever. Nancy runs her own personalized tourism business focused on entomology, ecology, conservation, and culture. When she’s not having a wild adventure through Ecuador’s diverse ecosystems, she’s conducting online workshops focused on entomology but in a gamified way. Her favorite thing to talk about is structural color. In all forms, Nancy just wants to show you that insects are beautiful animals that are fun to learn about. Nancy’s hobbies include working on too many projects at once, video games, and art.

Piotr Naskrecki, PhD

Associate Director, E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Laboratory, Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique

Piotr (Peter) Naskrecki
Dr. Piotr (Peter) Naskrecki

Piotr (Peter) Naskrecki is an entomologist, photographer and author, based at the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University (Cambridge, MA, USA.). He received his MSc degree in zoology from the A. Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland; and a PhD in Entomology from the University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT. Between 2002 and 2009 Piotr served as Director of the Invertebrate Diversity Initiative at the Center for Applied Biodiversity Science at Conservation International, Washington, D.C. His research focuses on the evolution of katydids and related insects, and the theory and practice of nature conservation. Currently, Piotr directs the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Laboratory at Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique.

Beehive Exhibit at the Museum

UA Bee Club LogoUA Bee Club

The UA Bee Club is a student-led organization working to promote pollinators on the University of Alabama’s campus. The club was founded for the purpose of gaining a “bee-friendly” designation from the national nonprofit Bee City USA. The Bee Club works towards building and maintaining habitats for pollinators on campus, providing educational materials about pollinators to UA and Tuscaloosa, and encouraging environmental stewardship for the sake of pollinators everywhere.

West Alabama Beekeepers Association

The West Alabama Beekeepers Association (WABA) promotes beekeeping to beekeepers and non-beekeepers alike. WABA hopes to assist people with their questions about apiary management and spark interest in beekeeping.

Celena Bennett

Celena Bennett
Celena Bennett

West Alabama Beekeepers Association

Celena Bennett was born and raised in Germany and is now a Beekeeper in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. She found her passion working with Honey Bees in 2013 and has become specialized in live bee removals and education about the importance of pollinators. She has since then started her journey in becoming a certified Master Beekeeper and in 2020 took on the role of president of West Alabama Beekeepers Association. Besides in the apiary you can find her tending to her garden, juggling and riding her unicycle and spending time with her family.

Vince Wallace

Vince Wallace
Vince Wallace

West Alabama Beekeepers Association

Vince is the current Vice-President of the Alabama State Beekeepers Association, a certified Alabama Master Beekeeper, and past President of the West Alabama Beekeepers Association. Vince will not be available for the live chat, but if you have questions for him, write a comment in the video’s Comment Section on YouTube.

 

Behind-the-Scenes of the Bug Room

John and Kendra Abbott

John Abbott
Dr. John Abbott
Kendra Abbott
Kendra Abbott

John and Kendra are professional nature photographers, educators and outdoor enthusiasts based in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

John has focused on dragonflies and damselflies throughout much of his career and has written three books on these beautiful subjects that contain much of our photography.

Kendra is an ecologist and has focused on endangered species and conservation issues much of her career.  Together, the have written a book on Texas insects and are currently working on one for North American insects. At the Alabama Museum of Natural History, John is the Director of Research and Collections and Kendra is the Research and Outreach Coordinator.